Tuesday, 28 February 2012

Transcription: Tower of Babel Sources - WIP

Map Artefacts
Various online sources showing the placement of the tower from Satellite: Direct Link

Earliest known Tower Inscription:


Written Descriptions of the Tower

Description 1. Histories - Herodotus, Written 440 BC

"The temple of Bêl, the Babylonian Zeus [...] was still in existence in my time. It has a solid central tower, one stadium square, with a second erected on top of it and then a third, and so on up to eight. All eight towers can be climbed by a spiral way running round the outside, and about half way up there are seats for those who make the ascent to rest on. On the summit of the topmost tower stands a great temple with a fine large couch in it, richly covered, and a golden table beside it. The shrine contains no image, and no one spends the night there except (if we may believe that Chaldaeans who are the priests of Bêl) one Babylonian woman, all alone, whoever it may be that the god has chosen. The Chaldaeans also say -though I do not believe them- that the god enters the temple in person and takes his rest upon the bed." (2)

Description 2. A Tablet from Uruk - Written 229 BCE.

"The tower was made up of seven terraces and it gives the height of the seven stocks - 91 meters all in all. The ground floor measured 91 x 91 meters, and this is confirmed by archaeological excavations conducted by Robert Koldewey after 1913 (91,48 x 91,66 m). Large stairs were discovered at the south side of the building, where a triple gate connected the Etemenanki with the Esagila. A larger gate in the east connected the Etemenanki with the sacred procession road. Seen from the triple gate, the Etemenanki must have resembled a true "stairway to heaven", because the gates on the higher terraces seemed to be standing on top of each other." (3)

Description 3. The Book of Jubilees - Date Written Unknown, possibly 200 BC.

"And they began to build, and in the fourth week they made brick with fire, and the bricks served them for stone, and the clay with which they cemented them together was asphalt which comes out of the sea, and out of the fountains of water in the land of Shinar. And they built it: forty and three years were they building it; its breadth was 203 bricks, and the height was the third of one; its height amounted to 5433 cubits and 2 palms, and thirteen stades" (4)


(1) Tower of Babel stele, the inscription dates to 604-562 BCE.
Source: The Schoyen Collection


(2) - Book: Histories
Author: Herodotus
Date Published: 40 BC

(3) - Website: Discovery News
Writer: Rossella Lorenzi
Accessed: 27th Feb 2012

(4) - Website: Livus - Articles on Ancient History
Writer: Jona Lendering
Accessed: 27th Feb 2012

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